Staffing rural schools: A new perspective

Colin Boylan

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


One of the major challenges facing rural schools is the recruitment of experienced teachers. Currently, many rural and remote schools are staffed by newly appointed or beginning teachers who remain in these places for the minimum period of appointment, often 2 or 3 years. Drawing upon the recent sea-change phenomenon, where city residents move to coastal locations often based on a change in lifestyle (e.g., approaching retirement or escaping the 'rat-race'), this chapter will explore a new and emerging group of lifestyle changers known as tree-changers. A tree-changer is a person who voluntarily relocates from a city environment to a rural or remote inland place. In particular, this chapter examines teachers in New South Wales who are tree-changers, and identifies that tree-change teachers choose to relocate to a rural place often with little researching about the services and facilities within their chosen rural place. For many teachers, they went through an adjustment process in which they used community integration strategies, including joining a number of sporting/recreational groups, interest/service clubs or community/church organisations that assisted their inclusion. Finally, some of the lived experiences of these tree-change teachers are recounted. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the concept of a rural lens and its application to systemic staffing practices and identifies policy recommendations that capitalise on the staffing potential associated with actively recruiting experienced tree-change teachers for rural and remote schools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDemographic change in Australia's rural landscapes
Subtitle of host publicationImplications for society and the environment
EditorsGary W. Luck, Digby Race, Rosemary Black
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherCSIRO Publishing
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789048196548
ISBN (Print)9780643096912
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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